Upcoming Events

September 2018

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September 25, 2018, 7:00PM: HAS BOD Meeting - Zoom only

Bi-monthly meeting of the HAS Board of Directors and Leadership.

This meeting will be held only via online Zoom conference. Instructions for joining the meeting will be included in the agenda sent to Leadership Team members.

Other members wishing to observe the BOD meeting should contact HAS President Don Selle, who will furnish instructions for meeting attendence.

September 28, 2018, 7:00PM: Astronomy in the Park in League City – Harvest Moon

Join us at the Rustic Oaks Park, 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, every month around full moon for a fun evening of amateur astronomy. Bring a telescope or come as you are. Rain or Shine1

What: Harvest Moon Star Party at League City Rustic Oaks Park
Where: 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, TX
Time: 7 – 10 pm
Questions? Contact Dan Roy at danroy@stpp.com

Besides current celestial events, we typically show:
•    A  100’ model of the solar system (Sun to Mars – Jupiter and Saturn in the distance) around 7:30pm for kids of all ages
•    Nightfall telescope observation of the moon and visible planets
•    Laptop display of various space and astronomy clips
•    Magazines and flyers about the moon and its phases, the solar system, the major constellations and asterisms visible now, a list of relevant URLs, free software from the net, etc.
 

1 If no one has shown up by 8 pm, I go home.

September 29, 2018, 7:00PM: Astronomy in the Park in League City – Harvest Moon

Join us at the Rustic Oaks Park, 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, every month around full moon for a fun evening of amateur astronomy. Bring a telescope or come as you are. Rain or Shine1

What: Harvest Moon Star Party at League City Rustic Oaks Park
Where: 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, TX
Time: 7 – 10 pm
Questions? Contact Dan Roy at danroy@stpp.com

Besides current celestial events, we typically show:
•    A  100’ model of the solar system (Sun to Mars – Jupiter and Saturn in the distance) around 7:30pm for kids of all ages
•    Nightfall telescope observation of the moon and visible planets
•    Laptop display of various space and astronomy clips
•    Magazines and flyers about the moon and its phases, the solar system, the major constellations and asterisms visible now, a list of relevant URLs, free software from the net, etc.
 

1 If no one has shown up by 8 pm, I go home.

October 05, 2018: HAS Monthly Meeting

Novice Meeting: 7:00PM
Novice Meeting Topic: 
TBD
Novice Meeting Speaker: 
TBD
General Meeting: 8:00PM
General Meeting Topic: 
Dusty Mars – The 2018 Apparition of Mars
General Meeting Speaker: 
Bill Flanagan
About the General Meeting Presentation

Dusty Mars – The 2018 Apparition of Mars

Mars reached opposition with the Sun on July 27, 2018 and made it closest approach to us on July 31st when it was only 35.8 million miles from Earth.  Although this year’s apparition of Mars provided us with our closest look at Mar’s since 2003, a small dust storm developed on Mars in May and by June had grown so large that it covered the entire planet.  As a result, a lot amateur astronomers here on Earth were disappointed to find the typical surface features observable during an opposition of Mars were lost behind a shroud of dust.  However as the dust began to settle, the anticipation of detecting changes to these surface details from the dust storm began to replace some of the disappointment of observing a virtually featureless globe of Mars during the height of the dust storm.

This month’s presentation will review how these dust storms develop and progress on Mars and how over time they have changed the observable features on Mars.  We will also explore what we have to look forward to in future apparitions of Mars.

Speaker - Bill Flanagan

Bill has been an active amateur astronomer since he built his first telescope (a 6” f/8 reflector) when he was a teenager.  He became fascinated with Mars when he pointed his newly built telescope at Mars during the 1969 opposition.  Bill still looks forward to what interesting things Mars has to show us every two years when it passes close to Earth.  In 2005 he began imaging Mars from his backyard and has recorded every apparition since.  Bill also has been a member of HAS since 1987, serving on the board of directors and as Treasurer and Secretary over various times from 1996 to 2015.

Parking and Directions (View Map)

Meetings are held in the Science & Research building at the University of Houston Main Campus. The novice meeting is in room 116, the general meeting is in room 117.

NOTE NEW PARKING INFORMATION: Parking is available in lot 15C. Refer to the Google Map below for directions. This parking is available from 6:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on the Friday night of the HAS meeting.

This parking is free. If you get a notice from the UH campus police on the night of the meeting, call the UH Security office and let them know that this area has been made available on HAS meeting night by the Parking Department.


Map to Parking

October 06, 2018, 10:00PM: Prime Night

October 08, 2018, 10:47PM: New Moon

October 09, 2018, 7:00PM: Loaner Telescope Training

Loaner Telescope Novice training will happen at the Mendenhall Center (where the HAS December Christmas Party was held), 1414 Wirt Rd. To start at 7:00 to 8:30 PM. As you walk in, look at the room listing board to see which room this will be held in. This will be a hands on training for the basic tools; telescope parts, star charts, telrad operation and use, star hopping (by star chart), and newtonian telescope colimation. While the class will be restricted to only 10 members, those who wish to observe may do so as long as they do not interrupt. If you wish to be instructed please email me at allenw@astronomyhouston.org to reserve your spot. The first 10 members to respond will be verified and contacted to confirm their spot in the class. Clear skies and dark nights.

October 12, 2018, 8:30PM: Camp CLIFF Camp for All

On October 12th, more than 200 campers will be packed and ready for a fun weekend at Candlelighters Camp CLIFF at Camp for All. Camp CLIFF is a free weekend camp for children with cancer (ages 5-18) and their parents and siblings. This is a unique camp that includes the entire family, providing a weekend away from the stresses of childhood cancer.

Date: Friday, 10/12/2018

Time: 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Where:  Camp For All, 6301 Rehburg Road, Burton, TX 77835

October 17, 2018, 7:00PM: VSIG Meeting - Oct

Monthly Meeting of the Visual Observing Special Interest Group.  Join your fellow visual observers in the club for lively discussion of all kinds of visual observing.  Feel free to present your own observing projects to the group, or just come to soak up info from the rest of us. 

Meeting to be held at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd. 

October 20, 2018, 2:00PM: Observatory Training

Club Members,

The Observatory Training Schedule for 2018 has been set.  Remaining training dates are: March 3rd, May 19th, Aug 11th, Oct 20th . 

Prerequisite requirements for students:
  • Must be at least 16 years of age or older.
  • Must be a Society member in good standing with all dues paid.
  • Have full knowledge of all general site rules and have completed the general site orientation.
  • Must have been a Society member for at least 6 months.
  • Must have knowledge of basic telescope functionality and procedures and to have a working understanding of equatorially mounted astronomical telescopes.  It is also recommended, though not required, that users be familiar with using TheSkyX.
  • Will be required to execute an observatory building use agreement which is a contract of limited liability covering all rules, regulations, and requirements governing the use of observatory building facilities. Members under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian execute the agreement on behalf of a minor user that is 16 or 17 years of age.
To sign up for training

Email your request to take observatory training to Chris Ober, Observatory Director, at ChrisO@astronomyhouston.org. Your RSVP will be accepted on a first received basis as the training sessions are limited to six students per session.  More sessions can be added as needed. Once your prereqs have been verified, you will be added to the next class or placed on a waiting list. About a week before training, Chris will email you a copy of the Observatory Operator Guide. Print this guide and bring it with you to class.

Training Overview

Training covers opening and closing the observatory, operating the 12.5”  f/5 and C14 telescopes, and the procedures for securing the building in case of emergency. You must take this general training before you can register for training on the 12” Ritchey-Chrétien imaging telescope, aka “Bob’s Dream.”

Training starts at 2:00 PM and covers the topics below with a break for dinner. At sundown students will reconvene to demonstrate competence in these areas:

  • Understanding of the burden of responsibility for the facility
  • Documenting  "as found condition and as left condition" of the observatory
  • Proper use of Startup and Shut down of the telescopes
  • Use of emergency procedures

Note: Training sessions will be conducted even with cloudy skies; the backup dates will be used only in the event of or threat of rain, which would preclude opening the roof and training on emergency building procedures.

HAS Observatory Committee

October 26, 2018, 7:00PM: Astronomy in the Park in League City – Hunter's Moon

Join us at the Rustic Oaks Park, 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, every month around full moon for a fun evening of amateur astronomy. Bring a telescope or come as you are. Rain or Shine1

What: Hunter’s Moon Star Party at League City Rustic Oaks Park
Where: 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, TX
Time: 7 – 10 pm
Questions? Contact Dan Roy at danroy@stpp.com

Besides current celestial events, we typically show:
•    A  100’ model of the solar system (Sun to Mars – Jupiter and Saturn in the distance) around 7:30pm for kids of all ages
•    Nightfall telescope observation of the moon and visible planets
•    Laptop display of various space and astronomy clips
•    Magazines and flyers about the moon and its phases, the solar system, the major constellations and asterisms visible now, a list of relevant URLs, free software from the net, etc.
 

1 If no one has shown up by 8 pm, I go home.

October 27, 2018, 7:00PM: Astronomy in the Park in League City – Hunter's Moon

Join us at the Rustic Oaks Park, 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, every month around full moon for a fun evening of amateur astronomy. Bring a telescope or come as you are. Rain or Shine1

What: Hunter’s Moon Star Party at League City Rustic Oaks Park
Where: 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, TX
Time: 7 – 10 pm
Questions? Contact Dan Roy at danroy@stpp.com

Besides current celestial events, we typically show:
•    A  100’ model of the solar system (Sun to Mars – Jupiter and Saturn in the distance) around 7:30pm for kids of all ages
•    Nightfall telescope observation of the moon and visible planets
•    Laptop display of various space and astronomy clips
•    Magazines and flyers about the moon and its phases, the solar system, the major constellations and asterisms visible now, a list of relevant URLs, free software from the net, etc.
 

1 If no one has shown up by 8 pm, I go home.

November 21, 2018, 7:00PM: VSIG Meeting - Nov

Monthly Meeting of the Visual Observing Special Interest Group.  Join your fellow visual observers in the club for lively discussion of all kinds of visual observing.  Feel free to present your own observing projects to the group, or just come to soak up info from the rest of us. 

Meeting to be held at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd. 

November 23, 2018, 7:00PM: Astronomy in the Park in League City – Beaver Moon

Join us at the Rustic Oaks Park, 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, every month around full moon for a fun evening of amateur astronomy. Bring a telescope or come as you are. Rain or Shine1

What: Beaver Moon Star Party at League City Rustic Oaks Park
Where: 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, TX
Time: 7 – 10 pm
Questions? Contact Dan Roy at danroy@stpp.com

Besides current celestial events, we typically show:
•    A  100’ model of the solar system (Sun to Mars – Jupiter and Saturn in the distance) around 7:30pm for kids of all ages
•    Nightfall telescope observation of the moon and visible planets
•    Laptop display of various space and astronomy clips
•    Magazines and flyers about the moon and its phases, the solar system, the major constellations and asterisms visible now, a list of relevant URLs, free software from the net, etc.
1 If no one has shown up by 8 pm, I go home.

November 24, 2018, 7:00PM: Astronomy in the Park in League City – Beaver Moon

Join us at the Rustic Oaks Park, 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, every month around full moon for a fun evening of amateur astronomy. Bring a telescope or come as you are. Rain or Shine1

What: Beaver Moon Star Party at League City Rustic Oaks Park
Where: 5101 Orange Blossom Ct. League City, TX
Time: 7 – 10 pm
Questions? Contact Dan Roy at danroy@stpp.com

Besides current celestial events, we typically show:
•    A  100’ model of the solar system (Sun to Mars – Jupiter and Saturn in the distance) around 7:30pm for kids of all ages
•    Nightfall telescope observation of the moon and visible planets
•    Laptop display of various space and astronomy clips
•    Magazines and flyers about the moon and its phases, the solar system, the major constellations and asterisms visible now, a list of relevant URLs, free software from the net, etc.

1 If no one has shown up by 8 pm, I go home.

December 01, 2018, 4:45PM: Novice Lab at the Dark Site

Join us at the Dark Site for a hands-on course for learning to navigate the night sky. Make sure as always to bring your red flashlights and warm clothing, but also be sure to bring a folding chair to sit in, and some paper and pen/pencil. Schedule of activities is as follows:

5:30-6:30 - detailed presentation on general sky mechanics plus a tour of the constellations.

6:30-7:00 - constellation sketching - we will all begin working on the AL's Constellation Hunter program together

7:00-9:30 - everyone will get the opportunity to locate various objects manually using my 10" dob.

The program concludes in time for anyone who wishes to leave at the 10 pm light window. But of course, anyone is welcome to stay longer and observe.

Please RSVP to stephenj@astronomyhouston.org (link sends e-mail) so that we know how many people will be there for the class.  Clear skies!

December 19, 2018, 7:00PM: VSIG Meeting - Dec

Monthly Meeting of the Visual Observing Special Interest Group.  Join your fellow visual observers in the club for lively discussion of all kinds of visual observing.  Feel free to present your own observing projects to the group, or just come to soak up info from the rest of us. 

Meeting to be held at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd. 

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